Alexander Tholl is the co-founder and CEO of 3DPets based out of Bloomingdale NJ. He graduated from Thomas Jefferson University with a degree in Industrial Design, a concentration in medical design, and a minor in business. He and his partner, Adam Hecht, developed a repeatable solution for designing and building full-limb replacement prostheses for canines that utilize 3D scanning, 3D printing, and custom software. Theses combined technologies have allowed them to expand into wheelchairs, bracing, and even develop devices for birds all the way to elephants. Alex will be speaking at our upcoming veterinary medicine-focused event.
When was the first encounter you had with 3D printing? What was that experience like? What were you thinking at that moment?
Alexander: College was the first time I was actually introduced and taught about 3DPrinting, this was 2015 on an SLS machine. It was cool to see and understand but I don’t think we really understood the potential at that time. We only used it for prototyping which almost everyone did. About a year later, I was introduced to more conventional FDM and SLA machines and started getting hands-on experience. Again, I was still learning its true potential and how it could be used for the end production of parts.
What inspired you to start your journey?
Alexander: Our company started with a traditional design utilizing 3D printing for prototyping and low-vol production. It wasn’t until late 2020 that we switched our business model to be 3D printing consultants, as manufacturing overseas had really ground to a halt. During this period, we designed and built our first printed prostheses for a canine.
Who inspired you the most along this journey in 3D printing?
Alexander: My partner and I had been introduced to some very successful individuals not in the printing world but their experience and motivational words are what pushed us to become more niche and have set goals.
What motivates you the most for your work?
Alexander: It’s hard not to be motivated when pets are your clients, frankly. Getting to see these pets move again and have the mobility they once did is incredibly inspiring and motivating.
What is/are the biggest obstacle(s) in your line of work? If you have conquered them, what were
Alexander: Many of the established 3D printing companies told us that we wouldn’t be able to print large parts using TPU. We had been very discouraged, but being naive and young, we decided to prove them wrong, and we are so glad we did. It came down to combining the suitable materials and machines, it was not rocket science.
What do you think is (are) the most significant challenge(s) in 3D Printing/bioprinting? What do you think the potential solution(s) is (are)?
Alexander: The biggest challenge is consistency in a lot of ways. Since every device we design and build is custom, we have to change print settings to accommodate the custom harnesses, feet, wheels, etc.
If you were granted three wishes by a higher being, what would they be?
- Health for myself, friends, and family.
- Business prosperity
- Early retirement
What advice would you give to a bright, driven college student in the “real world”? What bad advice have you heard that they should ignore?
Alexander: Network network network! It was the absolute best thing we ever did and the action that got us the furthest when it came to business and working with the right people. Don’t let someone tell you that you can’t do something unless you have actually tried it yourself; there are lots of doubters in this world. Prove them wrong.
What’s your favorite book you read this year and why? Alternatively, what’s your favorite book of all time you read and why?
Alexander: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life is this year’s favorite. My favorite book of all time is Fast n’ Loud by Richard Rawlings. It’s an amazing book about overcoming doubt, and hardship, and how life changes always.